Why Was Accused Guatemalan Murderer Loose in Florida?

Angel Gabriel Cuz-Choc, accused of stabbing his girlfriend and her child to death

By Andrew R. Arthur on May 2, 2024

Graphic bodycam footage from the Hillsborough County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) shows the moment last Thursday when Angel Gabriel Cuz-Choc — who has been accused of stabbing his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter to death — was taken into custody after a heated struggle. The facts of his arrest are undisputed, though the charges are unresolved, but the real question is how the illegal immigrant from Guatemala — who’s been here for three months — managed to enter.

The Alleged Crime. According to the local Fox affiliate, court documents in the case reveal the following about the crimes with which Cuz-Choc is charged:

The nature and circumstances of these offenses are excessively violent and brutal. The defendant attacked and stabbed his live-in girlfriend multiple times. In addition, he stabbed an innocent and defenseless four-year-old child while she was in the bathtub. The heinous nature of the offenses elevates [the] probability of danger the defendant’s release poses to our community and establish[es] that no conditions of release will reasonably protect the community from risk of physical harm.

It's alleged that after the offense, Cuz-Choc ran through a nearby field and into a wooded area, which is where deputies caught up to him 17 hours later. He allegedly confessed to the crimes and is charged with two counts of first-degree murder with a weapon, kidnapping, and aggravated child abuse.

While, as always, the defendant’s presumed innocent until he’s proven guilty, the cops appear to have some solid evidence in the case, at least according to the local NBC outlet, which reported based on court filings that:

Surveillance video obtained by HCSO showed the woman, identified as Amalia Cuc Choc, 36, “attempting to run from a male subject and screaming,” ... . The video also showed the woman “yelling in terror” as she was “being carried against her will” to a trailer, following the same path where deputies later discovered a trail of blood, according to detectives. They found her partially clothed, laying in a pool of blood and hidden beneath a tarp.

Her 4-year-old daughter, Estrella Pec Coc, was also found dead, laying in a “small pool of water” in a bathtub with the water still running, according to HCSO. Both victims were discovered with multiple stab wounds.

It’s unclear whether Cuz-Choc and the victims entered the United States together, or even knew each other before they got here. The sheriff stated that the mother and child came to the area about seven months ago, while other reports indicate that the trio arrived in Hillsborough County together from Guatemala three months ago.

Regardless, Cuz-Choc is not the child’s father, who reportedly is still in Guatemala.

“It’s Not the First Time I’ve Killed People”. The purported motive for the crimes is a claim Cuz-Choc became angry after Amalia Cuc Choc stayed out later with a friend than she had promised. Making the facts of the case even more disturbing is the following, also from the NBC affiliate:

Those who know Amalia and Estrella said this wasn’t the first time the suspect was violent with the victims. Pec Coc’s sister said Cuz-Choc had previously threatened their family.

“A man called me and told me to tell my sister to come back to him, because if she doesn’t, there will be consequences. It’s not the first time I’ve killed people. I’ve already killed people in Guatemala,” Dolores Choc said.

Again, these are all just allegations until proven, but assuming this threat was real (and the foregoing offers any number of reasons to think it is), it raises the question of how Cuz-Choc managed to enter the United States illegally given his criminal background.

Two Possible Answers. There are two possible answers to that last question, and neither puts the administration’s border policies in a good light. Either Cuz-Choc was apprehended by the Border Patrol, processed, and released; or he is just one of the approximately 1.8 million “got-aways”, aliens who managed to evade overwhelmed agents at the Southwest border and make their way into the United States.

If it’s the former, Cuz-Choc’s release begs the question of how DHS managed to miss the violent past of a migrant who entered the United States illegally, calls into doubt the effectiveness of the department’s vetting processes, and underscores why Congress mandated that such aliens be detained until they are either granted asylum or removed.

If it’s the latter, and he's a got-away, it’s just one more example of why it’s incumbent on the administration to secure the Southwest border now, and why border security can’t wait until a new president comes in to clean up this mess next January or in January 2029.

One Final Question. You’d be forgiven if you were unaware that a recent illegal migrant from Guatemala has been charged with the savage murders of his girlfriend and a toddler in a mobile home in Dover, Fla., 20 miles east of Tampa. The case hasn’t attracted much national attention, aside from a CBS News report that highlighted the sheriff's department bodycam footage last Friday.

That raises the question as to why such a brutal and senseless offense hasn’t received more coverage from networks that increasingly depend upon the lurid and disturbing side of human nature for clicks.

Is it because this story undermines the popular narrative that illegal migrants are simply coming here “for a better life”, or disproves the trope that such migrants are “less likely to commit crimes than U.S.-born Americans”, or is it just because domestic violence is so endemic that it’s just not “news”?

If it’s the latter, then reporters have good company in DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who (paternalistically) warned ICE officers in his September 2021 “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law” that “a categorical determination that a domestic violence offense compels apprehension and removal could make victims of domestic violence more reluctant to report the offense conduct”.

I can think of two victims who, if the facts as alleged in this case are true, would beg to differ with the secretary’s belief that domestic violence should not compel the “apprehension and removal” of an illegal migrant — if only they had the chance to do so.

How did an illegal migrant from Guatemala end up months later in Florida — where it’s alleged that he committed two unspeakable murders? Only Biden’s DHS can answer that question, and there’s likely a reason why they aren’t talking — and why most of the media isn’t either.